Someday Is Now

I first met Ian Berry, curator and director of the Tang Museum, when visiting the Miami Art Fairs in 2012. We struck up a conversation about Whiting Tennis’ work and his recent solo exhibition at the Tang.


I was stricken by Berry’s approachability, passion, and intimate knowledge of contemporary art: here was a curator to watch and learn from! So I was delighted to learn of the Tang’s planned exhibition of work by Corita Kent, an artist with whom I had an inextricable kinship, not unlike my obsession with Mary Heilmann.


Sister Corita Kent's lettering and layout class, 1955

Sister Corita Kent’s lettering and layout class, 1955

Maybe it’s because I grew up in Ann Arbor in the ’60s, with women’s lib, flower power, war protests, Sunday mornings reading the New York Times, and afternoons scrambling up our backyard apple tree, sketchbook in hand. I remember my brothers and I donning matching purple flowered bell bottoms, and me and some girls in my 5th grade class being disciplined by Mrs. Miller for wearing pants to school. As “punishment” we had to climb tall ladders and scrub the tops of our cubbies;–a dangerous job heretofore relegated to the boys. You should have witnessed our newfound confidence and young activist glee!


Fast forward to 2014, and you can imagine my thrill at learning of MOCA Cleveland’s upcoming exhibition, Someday is Now: The Art of Corita Kent, opening June 27, 2014…fresh from the Tang, co-curated by Ian Berry. This exhibition is the first-ever comprehensive survey of work by Corita Kent (1918-1986), including her pop-art, activist-driven, hope-filled abstractions, and text-based posters, serigraphs, drawings and photographs from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. A nun, feminist, and civil rights activist, Kent used collaborative printmaking in bold, graphic ways to communicate her positive, yet controversial, beliefs.


This exhibition follows on the heels of Michelle Grabner’s sublime MOCA Cleveland exhibition, I Work From Home. While not visually analogous, Grabner’s work packs a similar, from-the-heart-of-a-down-to-earth-smart-feisty-woman punch. Steve Litt, critic for the Plain Dealer, wrote that Grabner’s MOCA show is “pitch-perfect…provocative, fun, accessible…and all around terrific…MOCA is hitting the nail precisely on the head, and the experience is sweet, enthralling and absolutely what the museum ought to be doing…MOCA, please keep it up.” From the looks of the upcoming Corita Kent exhibition, they are.


Psychological at it’s core, I like to think that my own work also speaks to that down-to-earth-smart-feisty-woman. Collectively termed “self-help,” my titles serve as tongue-and-cheek provocations to push our selves to be strong, feisty and capable of coping with the stresses of contemporary life.


One thing’s for sure; I don’t want to look back on my life and think, “Coulda-Shoulda-Woulda”…unless, of course, It’s in the context of owning Whiting Tennis’ 2009 work by the very same name!


Deb Lawrence is represented by Posner Fine Art, Los Angeles. Contact Deb to inquire about available work, exhibition, representation.


Deb Lawrence

Tower Press Building

1900 Superior Ave. #101

Cleveland, Ohio 44114



Transmitting Emotion, curated by Karl Anderson

Jessica’s Gallery at the 5th Street Arcades

530 Euclid Ave, Suite 11

February 21st – March 24th


Tower Press Artists Group Exhibition, curated by Robert Thurmer

Wooltex Gallery, 1900 Superior Ave.

Friday April 11th, 5-9 pm

Gallery Conversation moderated by Robert Thurmer at 6:30 pm



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